The Truth Shall Set You Free?

I apologize.  I failed to include one truth from my book Fallout: A Survivor Talks to Incest Offenders and Others. I was afraid one piece of truth I came across might be destructive to victims of severe sexual abuse in childhood, and I didn’t want to depress them even further.  I have since realized that it may be important for those survivors to know and understand the full effects, which are reflected in the following:

“Child Sex Abuse Leaves Mark on the Brain,” by B. Bower, Science News of the Week, Vol. 147 June 3, 1995. “Two new brain-imaging studies, conducted independently, indicate that severe, repeated sexual abuse in childhood underlies damage to a brain structure that helps to orchestrate memory. This cerebral injury may predispose people to experience an altered state of consciousness known as dissociation and to develop symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)”….They had remarkably smaller hippocampal volume. Dr. Murray Stein’s brain-imaging studies at he Univ. of Cal. at San Diego was supported by J. Douglas Brenner of Yale University School of Medicine….Since I didn’t (don’t) consider myself an extreme case of incest, I overlooked the  article. Later in my research I came across even more recent findings about this. I realize now that, with so much discounting of the effects of child sexual abuse, bringing this information forward, instead of depressing survivors, may be experienced as validation for their current feelings.

I lost the reference, but Jamie Talan in Newsday reported that physical, behavioral change can result from sexual abuse during childhood, as well as high testosterone and stress hormone cortisol and an adrenal hormone. Severely sexually abused young girls tend to reach puberty a year or two before their peers. The abused girls have fewer friends, are disliked by teachers and have high  levels of depression and attention deficit disorder.  (Of course this finding may reflect the attention deficit disorder, which would not endear them to teachers either.)

I apologize for leaving the above out of my book.

During therapy, accepting and grieving the loss of what might have been is an important step.

About Nan Mykel

I used to think I would be a child prodigy, but then I got old. Formerly I had fantasies of rubbing elbows with cultural and academic leaders but that did not come to pass because I did not become a cultural or academic leader or any other kind of leader, for that matter. I am not even an "Alpha Dog," a term learned from a friend who had to become "Alpha Dog" in order to influence her own pet. (When gazes lock, she never looks away.) For years I expected to become a published author, but in passing I could not avoid the fact that I had little to contribute to the world's bulging dumpsters. I'm embarrassed to report that I also considered my primary process artistic productions powerful, rather than mildly neurotic. Which is not to say that I disrespect myself, only that I am beginning to doubt my potential for making a mark on the world. If I focus on strict self discipline I may be able to keep my garbage removed on a weekly basis, to keep the kitty box changed, the clothes cleaned, the dog watered, fed and walked, but that just catches me up to the starting mark again. When writing I physically grapple with words, wrestling them from their indifference into attempted chunks of awareness. I sit heavily on my chair; I breathe in artificially cooled air; my ear drums note the tap tap of the keyboard and the steady uninterrupted sound of the air conditioner, What is that sound? The roar of the ocean from 30 yards away...Inside, my thoughts are are balls in an electronic game machine, bouncing hither and yon from lever to lever. I am a little grim and intent until I recall a dream related by a black man in the prison where I once worked. He said that when he was a small boy, back home, he dreamed he was standing on his front porch pissing, and that he suddenly found himself pissing stars...
This entry was posted in Child sexual abuse, Dissociation and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Truth Shall Set You Free?

  1. Oliana says:

    Thank you for adding this information, Nan!

    Like

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